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We've had a fantastic response since we launched our online suggestion box in January 2008. We know we haven't always been as quick as we could have been in responding to your suggestions, but we're currently implementing strategies to improve our response time. Please keep your comments coming -- you help make us better!

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10 Recent Suggestions

Suggestion

(Jun 10/14) Why on earth would McMaster build QUIET STUDY ROOMS beside offices? Students, faculty
members and staff cant study quietly in these spaces which are signed out when they
are built within the zones of offices where people talk loudly! (eg. Study room in
MILLS 310/B and C

Library response:

Thanks for your message. The study rooms on the 3rd floor are Group Study Rooms, not Quiet Study Rooms. The entire west wing of the 4th floor is designated as QUIET, while the entire 6th floor is designated as SILENT. I am sure you will be able to find an appropriate quiet place to work in one of these areas. More information on designated study spaces can be found at http://library.mcmaster.ca/study-space

(Jun 10/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink
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(May 24/14) Its become a joke how disruptive the environment has become in certain parts of
Mills (the second floor is referred to as Club Mills). This seems to be a growing
trend: noisy students being allowed to talk, eat, watch videos on computers that are
meant to be used for education, and do anything but study in the libraries. Now
Thode has a study space in place of its periodicals that will no doubt become a
conversation floor in a similar way. This must stop. Something must be done.

I am a graduate student and thankfully do not have to put up with this kind of thing,
having a quiet study space with respectful student colleagues around me. But, I
remember being in even less tense environments than are becoming more ubiquitous now,
as an undergrad. Back then, it was a quiet study room with a couple of trouble-
makers. Even though I couldnt focus due to the out-of-place noise, being young and
timid (as other studious individuals may be) I didnt have the chutzpah to ask for
respectful silence. It was awful, and a lot of time and concentration was lost due
to this nonsense. And now, the situation is very clearly worse.

Please, staff and management of the libraries: do something. Make it a campaign for
study. Study should be encouraged and supported. Loud fun times should be looked
down upon in the library; noise and disruption should be quelled or expelled. I who
has been and those who now are fed up with being pushed out by disrespectful,
entitled individuals eagerly await a response, and more eagerly await swift action.
Solving this wouldnt cost money, it would only take guts and resolve to preserve and
indeed revive a positive, studious environment that those who truly belong in a place
of learning deserve and should expect.

Kindest regards, especially to those who serve within the libraries and may also be
frustrated with this not so recent trend.

Library response:

Thanks for your message.

We do understand that many students are looking for quiet study space, but just as many are looking for places to work together as a group, or are working on many things at once.

The Library has designated both QUIET and SILENT study spaces in all libraries so students can choose to study in spaces which best meet their needs. As you probably know we have also just introduced a Graduate Study Room to provide a space conducive to the research and study needs of our graduate student population.

We do our best to enforce the rules in these areas, although we do also encourage students to self-police these areas by talking with offenders themselves. We have a notification system in place whereby users can email quiet@mcmaster.ca if they feel a designated area is too noisy and we will send a staff member to speak to the offending individual(s).

More information on these study areas can be found at http://library.mcmaster.ca/study-space

We do monitor the use of our spaces throughout the term and make adjustments as necessary.

Hope this helps provide a better picture about where the Library is coming from on this topic.

Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian

Updated response: We did launch a RESPECT Campaign last fall to address many of these issues. More information on this campaign can be found at http://library.mcmaster.ca/respect. There are plans to expand this campaign in the next academic year.

(Jun 5/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Follow-up Comments:

Thank you for the information, it is helpful. After some thought and more investigation, it seems that the issue may not be only about availability or designation of study space. Rather, its how the space is being used. The study spaces are being used as social spaces, not for collaborative work. In fact, the socialization that is happening is damaging to collaborative work, which is the intended benefactor of the space in the first place. The establishment of the quiet@mcmaster.ca email address was an excellent idea. Perhaps in addition, more postings could be made around quiet areas to encourage the self-policing and use of the email address. Would it be possible to look at ways of creating a culture in the libraries to encourage students to be vocal and active (in a respectful, co-operative way of course) about keeping things quiet around them? Going along with the above, there may be a need for heightened awareness of social space locations, as well. Perhaps this could be part of what is done to preserve the right environment of study spaces. Do students know where to go to hang out? Are there enough spaces for this, and are they accessible enough? Of course these latter two issues (availability and accessibility of social space) are outside the scope of the libraries responsibilities, but the first issue (awareness of social spaces and their locations) is something that could be a part of a quiet study space campaign. Thank you again for the information, and for posting my original comment and the response to it! (2014-06-12)


Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink
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(May 20/14) I waited 10 minutes at the farther end of the circulation desk (the end which is near the reserve room) before the staff who was at the desk noticed I was waiting. Is there a way we can get around this issue? Thanks!

Library response:

I'm sorry that you had to wait for service at the desk.  Unfortunately, the setup of the desk doesn't allow staff to easily see when someone is waiting at the reserve station.  Installing a mirror is not feasible as it would still require staff to continually check it.  The best bet is for our library patrons to make their presence known to staff.  Our staff do appreciate it when they are made aware that someone is waiting and are not offended when someone asks for help by saying "excuse me" or "hello" etc.  Please feel free to let staff know you are there.  You shouldn't have to wait for them to notice you.  I will also remind our staff and student assistants to stay mindful and check the reserve station regularly to see if anyone is waiting.

(May 20/14)
Answered by: Lynn Schneider (Supervisor, Circulation & Collection Maintenance, Health Sciences Library)

Categories: Customer Service, Health Sciences  |  Permalink
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(May 20/14) Can there be more printsmart paystations please!

Library response:

PrintSmart is a campus-wide networked printing/copying system and is not a library service.  As such, those overseeing PrintSmart have changed the method of payment to add value to your account.  In May, they went to an online only payment system (http://printsmart.mcmaster.ca/). The advantage is you can now pay at any computer with Internet access rather than having to come into the campus libraries.  If you have any questions or concerns about the service, I recommend contacting PrintSmart directly printsmart@mcmaster.ca

(Jun 2/14)
Answered by: Neera Bhatnagar (Head of Systems, Health Sciences Library)

Categories: Customer Service, Health Sciences  |  Permalink
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(Apr 17/14) Can we get more plugs for cubicles in Mills (especially 4th and 6th floor)? Sometimes
its really difficult trying to find a seat with a plug nearby and we are forced to
find somewhere else to study

Library response:

Plans are underway to do this work over the summer months.

(Jun 5/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink
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(Apr 15/14) Hello, the 6th floor today is really cold, please is there a way it can be adjusted? I
wearing my coat to study right now

Library response:

Hello - we did open the dampers yesterday to get some more air circulating when it was so warm. These have been shut but it might take a while to get the temperature back to where it should be. Unfortunately it takes a while due to the age of the building and its mechanical systems.

(Apr 15/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Temperature, Mills  |  Permalink
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(Mar 31/14) If a fire is not an imminent danger, then why are we listening to shouted announcements about it?

If a fire is an imminent danger, then why not word the announcement more clearly?

Isnt there a bit of a logical discontinuity between cryptic and shouted?

Library response:

Thank you for taking the time to express your concern. The Health Sciences Library is located inside the Hospital, which is administered by Hamilton Health Sciences. As a result, HHS fire safety regulations apply in our library space. The intercom system and the process for making announcements have been designed to ensure the safety of all building occupants including patients, staff and students.
Although the wording of the announcements may seem cryptic, the information does have meaning for library staff who are required to participate in regular fire safety training. In the event we had to evacuate the library, the messaging would be very clear and library staff would be available to help direct the evacuation process.

I realize that the frequency and volume of the announcements are disruptive, however, there is no way they can be changed or be eliminated. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have additional questions.

 

(Mar 31/14)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

Categories: Other, Health Sciences  |  Permalink
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(Mar 10/14) Is it possible to get a ban on the use of subwoofers on campus during the month of
March? I say this in the context of someone who appreciates the importance of letting
off a bit of steam, however since subwoofers penetrate most conventional earplugs as
well as windows, and the kind of music that is preferred for running outdoor events
is, shall we say, heavily irritating, I feel this is somewhat akin to smoking inside.
Clearly one should expect a certain amount of disruption on campus in September.
Running a subwoofer on campus in March however is not school spirit - it is sadism.
You can pump the bass on welcome week or on 420 - just not when EVERYBODY WHO CARES
ABOUT THEIR MARKS IS TRYING TO STUDY.

Library response:

Thanks for your comment. We will forward this suggetion on to the MSU Executive for their consideration.

(Mar 10/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Other  |  Permalink
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(Mar 3/14) One concern I have is the lack of adequate 100% silent study space in most of
McMasters libraries. Mills 6th floor is designed to be totally quiet, yet there are
two elevators that are constantly making that annoying noise that signals when the
elevator arrives at the floor. Is there any way to disable that noise on the 6th
floor? Because of the floor layout, there really is no space up there that would be
free of this nuisance.

Library response:

Thanks for sending in your comment. Unfortunately we are not able to disable these notification bells since they are used both as a safety mechanism to indicate when a car has arrived and for those users with little or no sight to indicate when a car has arrived. Perhaps you could consider using headphones while using this space to ensure total silence. 

(Mar 6/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink
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(Feb 28/14) There is no water fountain in HSL. It is not good for our health

Library response:

I share your frustration about the water fountain in the Health Sciences Library. Unfortunately, there is an issue with the plumbing in this area and the water is unsafe for drinking. This is a larger issue with the plumbing in the wall behind the water fountain. Building management and the Health and Safety office have not been able to find a workable solution. Until that happens, the fountain will remain closed.

The water in the library washrooms is safe for drinking. The accessible washrooms on both the upper and lower levels have faucets that can accommodate large water bottles. There are also drinking water taps available in the hospital cafeteria.

Thank you for taking time to express your concern and feel free to contact me directly if you have any other questions. Thank you.

 

(Mar 31/14)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

Categories: Other, Health Sciences  |  Permalink
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